It’s political…It’s spiritual…It’s laughable…It’s lovable…It’s ShoeShe!

How Not to Talk to a Baptist… February 21, 2010

Filed under: Laughable,Personal,Spiritual — shoeshe @ 6:22 pm

I had an interesting conversation with my mom today. She was talking about Lent, ashes and Baptists. She had my attention. Mom, though a career Methodist, is not quite as schooled on all things religious. Bless her heart. She wanted me to explain Lent to her.

Here’s what I said…

Lent is the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter (not counting Sundays) where we practice self-denial in preparation for the death and resurrection of Jesus. We fast for 40 days because we are preparing for what is to come…just as Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert in preparation for his public ministry.

There are lots of other forties in the Bible that are significant…Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai. Elijah spent forty days and nights walking to Mount Horeb. God made it rain for forty days and nights on Noah. The Hebrew people wandered for forty years looking for the Promised Land. Jonah gave Ninevah forty days to repent.

That’s pretty much Lent in a nutshell.

Then mom was like, “well, what are the ashes for?”

So I said…

Well, they burn the palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday service to make the ashes.

Ashes are symbolic for us, because of the ancient tradition of throwing ashes over your head as a sign of repentance before God. Then, there’s the Scripture out of Genesis that says we are dust and to dust we shall return.

Mom says, “But Baptists don’t do all that…do they?”

I said…

Well, not usually, though this year the First Baptist Church here did have an Ash Wednesday service, complete with black, ashy crosses on the foreheads…and they’re even celebrating Lent this year.

Mom said, “Oh.”

I asked why she was suddenly so interested in all this stuff, and she said that she had a conversation with a die-hard Baptist about all of it, and came out of it quite confused.

This particular guy told her that Baptists don’t do Ash Wednesday and Lent, because it is Catholic. He said that Baptists were around before Catholics, because they derived straight from John the Baptist. Since the Catholics added all of that stuff, the Baptists don’t do it, because that’s not what John the Baptist did.

I said…

Hmm…interesting. You probably don’t want to get into an argument over religion, but he’s wrong. I’m not a Baptist scholar, so I can’t quite comment with 100% accuracy, however I’m pretty sure the Baptist church came out of the same Reformation process that all the other Protestant churches came from. I’d put their development as a church in the 1500s to 1600s. See, it got a kick-start when Martin Luther put his 95 Theses on that church door, though from all I’ve read and observed about the Baptist church, I’d assume they derived more from a breed of Puritans and Calvinists…both also church reform groups stemming from the Catholic Church/Church of England. And yes…we later grew out of that same movement…

Mom said, “Oh…well, isn’t it cute that he thinks his church stems from John the Baptist? Though, it’s sort of judgmental of him to think that First Baptist Church shouldn’t be able to call itself a Baptist church since they celebrated Ash Wednesday.”

Okay…so after this stimulating discussion, I did a bit of research that puts a date of 1608/1609 on the establishment of the first Baptist church…and it was in Holland…and it was established by John Smyth and Thomas Helwys.

Here’s my take on the whole thing…

Thank God I belong to a connectional and methodical church that traces its history and “believes” in the “holy catholic church.” And before people get all in a tizzy about what I mean by “holy catholic church,” I’ll give you the explanation I was given in my church’s Confirmation classes when I was in 6th grade. I still remember, partly because I thought learning a cool-sounding Greek word was fun – yes, I’ve always been a nerd.

Here goes…

The word catholic is a form of the Greek word “katholikos,” which means “of the whole.” Therefore, catholic is referring to the universal church…i.e. all Christians everywhere…not the Roman Catholic Church.

So see, I’m open-minded enough to believe that all Christians (whether Methodist, Baptist or otherwise) are pretty much on the same page. The differences aren’t biblical (for the most part – and I still don’t understand the no musical instruments thing in the Church of Christ or the no dancing in the Baptist Church, since both were in the Bible), but are instead practical in nature.

Gah…I quit.


Randummie February 3, 2010

Filed under: Personal,Political,Spiritual,Uncategorized — shoeshe @ 12:42 pm

Yeah, that’s a smash-up of two words…”random” and “dummie…” just in case you wondered.

Here’s the thing. I haven’t had anything happen in the last couple of weeks that would make incredibly good blog fodder, so I’m just going to list a few random things that cause all the gray matter in this dummie’s brain to go into over-drive.

  • I do not like it when fellow motorists pull out in front of me only to go slower than I was going…thereby forcing me to use my brakes when I wouldn’t have needed them. This feeling is multiplied many times over when I look in my rearview mirror and realize that there is nothing behind me…meaning the fellow motorist could pull out after me and all would be well.
  • I love making pizza. I’ve really gotten good at a yummy pesto sauce that I put on a thin crust with tomatoes and a few favorite cheeses.
  • I do not like it when people don’t cooperate. Really, I consider myself to be quite flexible when dealing with other people, so it just irks me when others don’t act accordingly.
  • I rarely arrive anywhere on time. I am habitually late to work. I am nearly always late for church (and I teach Sunday School, so it is probably not so appropriate). I never arrive on time for doctors’ appointments (but I don’t feel so bad about that since I nearly always have to wait anyway). I was multiple hours late for my best friend’s wedding (not the actual wedding, it was preparations and rehearsal, but still…it was bad). I have yet to celebrate Christmas with another friend. I can’t really think of anything I’ve been on time for lately…except Black Friday shopping. That’s sad. I will try to do better.
  • I am seeing a chiropractor for the first time in my life, because I am determined to kick this pesky pain in my neck/shoulders that has been bothering me for over a year.
  • Lately I’ve been tired and cranky until about noon each day. I’m wondering if it’s the new dosage of meds, because I’m not generally a tired and cranky kind of girl.
  • I have found some great friends lately, and for that I’m thankful. We even discuss things that are out-of-bounds in most other relationships. It’s an eclectic group: the middle-aged married father from England (oh, yeah…his accent is great); the doctor/actress wannabe who is 25 and has never been kissed; the legal assistant who used to be on all sorts of crazy drugs, found redemption and is using her “story” to help others; the stereotypical gay musician (who is totally kick-ass with advice); the 21-year old poster-girl for purity (she doesn’t use foul language, hasn’t ever kissed, and well…she’s obviously still a virgin) who still likes to have a good time; then there’s me. Where do I fit into this mix?
  • I don’t usually talk about religion and/or politics with certain crowds of people, but I’ve found myself more expressive in the last week or so. For the record, I don’t have a problem with people helping other people in times of disaster. In fact, I applaud their efforts. I give to their efforts. Let me be clear, there’s a difference in people trying to help and people trying to take over. Groups like UMCOR, UNICEF and the Red Cross are great. They help those who need help with sustainable water, food, shelter, clothing and general infrastructure. I’m sure there are other groups out there who do great things (maybe World Vision, Compassion International, etc. are examples of those). But then there are renegade churches who go and do stupid things. I am so glad I belong to a connectional church with a systematic and methodical approach to helping the least and lost. [pure opinion ahead…beware] I find it bizarre that a church would feel the need to send solar Bibles to Haiti when Haitians need food, clean water, shelter, etc. I would think that you meet their human needs before you begin evangelizing. Also, the Baptists from America, who are in a Haitian jail for child trafficking, should be in jail. I have no doubts that they were trying to “help.” But taking children who are not yours is wrong. You can’t just bring all the poor kids in the world to America for us to “fix.” I have to stop here. I feel a rage coming.

That’s all.


Be The Tree…Please Respond January 19, 2010

Filed under: Personal,Spiritual,Uncategorized — shoeshe @ 3:58 pm

Yesterday I told you all that I’d like your help in coming up with some questions for a devo for the summer camp I work with. Below you’ll find my devo…so far. But I still need some questions.

Please let me know what you think! Thanks!!!


Luke 19:1-10

If you’re like me, you’ve heard this story so many times that you know the ending before you finish reading it. But if you’re like me, you may have also sang the little song so many times that the lessons to be learned from the story have gotten lost along the way.

Four characters give us unique insight on what happened that day…

  1. Jesus

    You might think the story is about Zaccheus looking for (and finding) Jesus. That’s certainly one way to look at it, but notice that it says, “when Jesus came to the place…” So it is safe to assume that Jesus was looking for Zaccheus, and that he knew exactly where to find him. Why Zaccheus? We all know he was a tax collector, but he wasn’t just any old tax collector. He was the chief tax collector. So, if Zaccheus’ life could be changed, then all the other tax collectors working under him could also be affected. The transformation in Zaccheus’ life would impact everyone, especially those who knew him before the transition. Every day Jesus sets out to change the hearts of those around us, and God often uses us as His agents of that change.
  2. The Crowd

    You’d think the crowd would want the man who takes their money to change…or for Jesus to lecture him. Instead, the crowd did then what it continues to do today. You know, there are lots of people who fight change or who don’t think people (including themselves) can change. As a result, they keep others away. Think about it. Do you point people to Jesus, or do you push them away by how you live your life? Do you know all the church answers in your head, but fail to live them out in your daily life? Look at who you have chosen as your friends. They help mold you into the person you are. Friends either draw you to or push you away from Jesus. Think about what your friends do for you, but more importantly, think about what kind of friend you are.
  3. Zaccheus

    Do you think Zaccheus got up early that day and had any idea what was going to happen? Do you think he told his servants to get the house ready and cook a big meal because Jesus was coming home with him for dinner? No way!!! Zaccheus was just hoping to get a glimpse of this man called Jesus. What about you? When you get up each day, do you prepare as if Jesus is spending the day with you, or are you satisfied with just a glimpse? Once you’ve been really touched by Jesus, you can’t help but DO something…sing, pray, laugh, cry, serve, and yes…even change.

    So here’s this guy Zaccheus. And on that day when Jesus came, Zaccheus saw himself for the first time in the light of Jesus, and he changed. Did you catch how much his heart was changed? He gave half of what he had to the poor. And out of the half he had left, he gave back four times what he had cheated/stolen from others. Then Jesus laid out his mission “to seek and save those who are lost,” which is exactly what He did that day for Zaccheus. What is your mission where God has planted you?

  4. The Tree

    I bet you were wondering where I’d get the 4th character, right?

    The tree is definitely a character in this story! Think about it. For years, that tree was used to climb in, to meet under, to rest by and to serve as a point of direction. But that tree was planted long ago for one great reason. That tree put Zaccheus in the position to see Jesus. He was able to climb above all his limitations (size) and distractions (crowd) and finally see Jesus.

    I can’t help but read this story in a new light as I start off my week at OMP. The tree jumps out at me as a shining example of how we should deal with others. God is asking us to see the tree as an opportunity to positively affect others’ lives. We’re here to put others in the position to see Jesus. We are limited by our inability to live perfectly, yet we’re given the chance to see Christ by the way we live, by helping others when they need us, and by showing that we care. The question is, are we using the tree to help ourselves and others see Jesus? How do we impact others’ lives for Jesus? When we are blocked in one area (crowds), we find another way (the tree).  Climbing the tree is what OMP is all about…the opportunity for us to change and be changed from the inside out.

    Open our eyes, God, to see the opportunity You have already provided!


New Perspective January 12, 2010

Filed under: Personal,Spiritual,Uncategorized — shoeshe @ 11:14 am

Okay, so I’ve been thinking about my current church situation a lot lately, and the other night I had an amazing revelation.

Ministers and staff members will come and go, but the church will live on.

Instead of attending a different church, I will try to be the change I wish to see. I cannot change everything, but maybe one thing.

What are your thoughts?


I Just Don’t Know… December 7, 2009

Filed under: Personal,Spiritual,Uncategorized — shoeshe @ 2:59 pm

I’m not happy at church. There. I said it…something I never thought I’d say about the church that raised me. When I was a teenager, I was there every time the door was opened. As a young adult, I’m finding fewer open doors.

Don’t misunderstand me. I still love worshiping at my church, and I feel like God has blessed my church with great ministers.

However, there is nothing at my church for young adults…especially young, single adults like me. Every time they/we try to start a Sunday School class or a small group or anything else for young adults, the older people crash our party. Geez that sounded really tacky of me to say! But here’s the deal…there are more than 10 Sunday School classes from which to choose from at my church (for adults). And they’ve tried to start several young adult classes…and even young singles classes. And here’s what happens when they start: Mr. and Mrs. 50-something show up. I’m sorry, but feeling like a young adult and being a young adult are two separate entities. Also, if you show up to a singles class with your wife, you likely don’t belong!

I’ve felt like such the outcast loser in every Sunday School class I’ve tried that I have been serving as a Sunday School teacher in our children’s department every week since last year. It’s not that I don’t love to help where needed, but now I am worn out, and I want to be fed. I should be able to find a home in this 2000+ member church, but there is none.

And I’m thinking about church-hopping for the month of January to see if I can find a place where I belong. This has been a difficult decision for me, one I’ve prayed over for a while now, but I’m just not happy, and I know I should be.

I feel guilty for feeling so unhappy with my church. And I’m certainly not one to “date” the church. I am in a very committed relationship with the church, which is why it hurts so much to feel this way.

So, we have a new church in town (one that isn’t Methodist) that caters to young adults (sort of) and that is active! They are alive! They do things as a community! They do breakfast before church on Sundays, they have mission activities (something very dear to my heart), they go on group outings, they pray and play together. I’m thinking of starting there.

Then there’s the bigger than huge Six Flags Over Jesus (it’s really just a Baptist Church, but we kid) down the road that has a thriving young adult ministry complete with lots of active small groups.

What I’m having trouble deciding is whether it is more important for me to agree with a church’s doctrine or social/educational/spiritual offerings. And that’s where I’m torn. Deep down we all pretty much believe the same things…one God, one Son, Holy Spirit. It’s just the traditions that are a bit different. It’s like a family…each family has its own traditions, but not having the same traditions as another family doesn’t make one less of a family.

Am I losing my mind?

There’s one thing I am steadfast in…I will not be re-baptized just to attend another church! My baptism isn’t between me and a church, it is between me and God. And I don’t feel like I should have to be a member of a church to take that church’s communion. Again, communion isn’t between me and a church, it is between me and God.

Give me some encouragement please!!!


My Christmas List November 23, 2009

Filed under: Personal,Spiritual — shoeshe @ 3:29 pm

Oh, you thought this was a list of things I wanted for Christmas…sorry!

This is my iPod in the holiday genre on shuffle…

  1. Stille Nacht (Silent Night) – Mannheim Steamroller
  2. Away in a Manger – Plankeye
  3. Jesus Is Born – Circleslide (from Bethlehem Skyline…which is a really great CD)
  4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Vonda Shepard (from Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas)
  5. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
  6. We Three Kings – Building 429
  7. Do You Hear What I Hear – FFH
  8. Who Comes This Night – James Taylor
  9. Santa’s Beard – The Beach Boys
  10. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Chris Tomlin

Divine Intervention November 14, 2009

Filed under: Personal,Spiritual,Uncategorized — shoeshe @ 11:39 pm

I’ve always known that God works in mysterious ways, but to see some of God’s handiwork play out in real time is incredible.

See, for the past few months, I’ve been somewhat unhappy because I can’t find a place to plug myself in using my time and talents…you know like volunteering.

Sure, I teach Sunday School every Sunday morning, and I teach Bible study on Wednesday nights. I feel like I do enough at church, but I just don’t feel plugged into my community…or any other community around me (except for the one week per summer I spend at a youth mission camp).

Needless to say, my church’s youth group doesn’t do any hands-on mission work (though they are raising money for water in Kenya – noble, but not dirty-hands type of work). And while there are several opportunities for service with adult groups at church, most of those are in foreign countries…not in our backyard.

So I’ve been praying for a way to plug in right in my own community.

Enter my boss and her trusty sidekick.

Last week we were having a huge event at the local university (the one I work at), and my boss and her trusty sidekick were down the street getting ice. A woman approached them asking them a multitude of questions…and trust me when I say that my boss was in a huge hurry. We had 300+ hungry folks quickly approaching ready for food and drinks (the ones that were supposed to be iced down with the ice).

Anyway, it turns out that the woman who approached my coworkers was from the Habitat for Humanity build going on down the street from our university. She wondered if our university would be willing to supply some volunteers a few Saturdays.

So the story made its rounds during our weekly staff meetings, and we wound up making Habitat for Humanity an office project.

My boss had complained about how long the stoplight was last Saturday making them wait and wait and wait and wait. But the truth is that if they hadn’t had to wait so long, then the woman wouldn’t have been there at just the right time to answer my prayers.

It goes beyond that. See, Habitat for Humanity needed volunteers in a bad way, and God intervened solving two problems (my need for a service project…and HfH’s need for volunteers).

So today I helped out with Habitat for Humanity (and then took a long nap).


Oh, and God supplied us with the perfect day for building a house…sunny and warmish cool perfection!